Changing Lives and Giving Hope: A Drupal 8 Case Study

June 9, 2017

Community of Hope is based in Washington, D.C. and provides services to homeless and low-income individuals and families, including transitional housing, social services, family education, and health care. These specially designed initiatives have the powerful effect of helping downtrodden families get back to independence. In addition to housing, Community of Hope has three federally qualified health centers across the District that meet the primary healthcare needs of the un- and under-insured. The Community of Hope website needed to offer an accessible process for homeless families to apply for subsidized housing through the organization’s five housing programs.  Another massive drive for the site was to make it easier for individuals to volunteer, mentor, intern, and above all donate. The website needed a way for users to promote, apply for, and volunteer these services.

Community of Hope’s previous website needed to be redesigned to accommodate their growing impact in the community and eager need to communicate with the public. The challenge, in this case, was to optimize a modest budget and precisely utilize all resources to portray a worthy organization’s ambitious goal.

Why Drupal 8 Was Chosen

Being a website for the community, the enhanced accessibility features of Drupal 8 drew the team to the migration. With such a diverse audience, Community of Hope needed a content management platform with extensive multilingual and accessibility support. Community of Hope expressed an urgent need for an easier way to manage and edit content, and the built-in WYSIWYG editor made Drupal 8 the perfect choice to accommodate their needs.

Community of Hope’s website needed mobile optimization, greater utilization of text and photos, as well as a way to enable an influx of forms critical to their operations. Drupal 8 was built with a mobile-first mentality from the installer to the modules page. Because of new features like these as well as the in-place editing, the New Target team knew Drupal 8 would help Community of Hope meet their requirements. From a development standpoint, the fact that more modules are part of the core was one of the most appealing aspects for our team. Our developers saw a considerable difference in the ease of upgrading critical parts of the system compared to the process of Drupal 7. Since everything is an entity, our development team was able to think outside of the page and publish more dynamically with imagery, data, and graphics.

Goals and Outcomes

Community of Hope’s primary goals for the redesign were to motivate donors, foundations, community/corporate partners, and volunteers to support the organization by communicating their impact and leadership in the areas of housing/homelessness, healthcare, and employment services. The application needed the ability to recruit high-quality talent by communicating a warm and professional work culture. 

The new application needed to provide speedy answers and be intuitively navigable because a large flow of users would be predominantly underserved families with a lack of reliable internet access or knowledge of modern technical features. Helping their audience clearly navigate to the section they’re looking for was a major requirement for the project.

In trying to reach users across a range of socio-economic groups of families, volunteers, and donors, Community of Hope aimed to drive people to their website from social media and print ads. To accommodate this, a responsively designed site was imperative. Community of Hope’s previous site was poorly designed, not mobile friendly, and difficult to navigate. New Target wanted to give the organization more publishing power and capability in showing their impact in the community through statistics, stories, and news. Through the reorganization of content and card design patterns, we were able to create a clean, modern, open website that showcased their services and impact in the community.   

The outcome resulted in a masterfully sculpted site that is able to adapt to emergent technologies and create user demand for years to come. New Target presented Community of Hope’s top interests at the forefront of the landing page. We reoriented the sitemap to improve speed and accessibility thereby providing relevant information to the appropriate users in a swifter practical fashion. For New Target, this project represents the perfect example of creating a strategy and implementing it with Drupal.

User Interface Design

The goal of the design was to showcase the work that Community of Hope performs so that they could appeal to people who need their services, people who provide services, and to inspire donors to be generous. The old application had an outdated and timeworn feel to it. The website sported bulky and uninviting blocks abundant in lengthy text boxes. New Target implemented a fresh, full-screen immersive experience to Community of Hope’s homepage. Given the demographics of the members, we incorporated appropriate textures, treatments, and photography. Keeping in mind that Community of Hope wanted to provide better marketing opportunities and increase user engagement, we designed a new menu and reworked the navigation flow which makes it easier for users to find the information they need and to share it. Additionally, users are given a preview of information about major topics before they click through to the secondary pages.

Drupal Development and Configuration

We integrated Search API Solr which provides a robust, flexible search experience for the user. TB Mega Menu was used so that content can be featured in the menu in addition to the menu links. As a better way to update content frequently, views with customized fields were used as it provided flexibility in identifying the timeline on new content. The Contact Storage module was used to create forms and CSV Serialization was used to export results from the content forms. Drupal 8’s fieldable blocks were used to create custom block types with different field types.

Drupal Migration

For migration, we used the Drupal 8 core module, Migrate, and we also created a custom module to create classes for each content type that was being imported.

Come see the finished product and while you're there consider helping Community of Hope improve the health and quality of life for low-income and homeless families in D.C. -- Donate to Community of Hope.

 

Please contact us if you are interested in working with a world-class and highly experienced full-service Drupal firm.

Headquartered near Washington, DC, in Alexandria, VA, New Target provides digital strategy, web design, web development, data integration, application hosting, and online marketing for prominent national associations, corporations, and government.

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